Andy has found the family name carved near some prehistoric rock art in northern England.
My main interest is in Prehistoric rock art of which we have many fine examples in Northumberland.
At one of the well known sites in Northumberland near Chatton a possible member of your clan had carved his name along with the inscription (Edinburgh 1860). The name appears to be J Whittet but I can't be sure that the place and date were carved at the same time as the alignment and style may differ and there are other names on the rock (one being W or J Bates). Although such desecration of a national monument would now be a criminal offence, I could quite believe that at the time things were rather different and this J Whittet might have been an interested antiquarian as myself. The carved name is quite large and well executed (perhaps he/she was a stone mason by trade?). Although the carvings were executed on the same outcrop as those done in prehistoric times the perpetrators have at least kept their added graffiti well to one side. The location is a fairly remote sandstone hill top, an amazing viewpoint, overlooking the Cheviot Hills to its west. Anyone visiting in 1860 would probably have had prior knowledge about the carvings and made a deliberate pilgrimage to see them (as I still do today). The rock art carvings are large, very elaborate and part of the local cup and ring tradition considered to be of the Neolithic period on horizontal or slightly sloping outcrops of fell sandstone.
If the carved name was indeed added to the outcrop in 1860, (by J Whittet or another hand) this would be a very early in the discovery and study of rock art in the UK, certainly known a few years earlier in Northumberland and lowland Scotland but first 'popularised' in major publications by George Tate in 1865 and J Collingwood Bruce in 1869. The earliest publications I can find of the Chatton panels is in local antiquarian journals of 1864 and 1886.Andrew Curtis, October 30, 2008, via e-mail
In addition to the history of the name included in The Whittet Book, I recently came across this description as well:
This unusual name is believed to be a medieval patronymic, derived from the Olde English term "huit" meaning white. It was used to describe someone with white hair or an unusually pale complexion. The suffix "et" is a shortened form of the French "Petit" meaning small, thus Whittet may describe "a little white" or "son of White". The name also has topographical roots, as it can be traced to the Olde English "wiht" meaning "dweller by a bend or curve" in a river or road; hence Whittet would describe "the son of he who dwelt by a river\road bend". On July 1st, 1821 one James Whittet was christened at St. Dionis, Backchurch in London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Whiteyate, married, which was dated January 18th 1567, St. Dunstan in the East, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Good Queen Bess, 1558 - 1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.(Source)
Reprints of the Whittet Book are available, though places like General Books and others (listed on Amazon). Personally, I'm not super happy with the idea, as the original book was written by family, edited for family, printed and published by family, and delivered in limited quantity to family only. Bringing in a third party seems a little strange, but if you'd like a printed copy, I have no other suggestion. (Until I, with help, finish my reprint... a work in progress.)
However, be aware that the quality is likely low. Either you're getting a scan of the original, or a computer-interpreted version which is likely fraught with mistakes and typos. In any event, do not pay for a PDF. General Books offers a PDF for $10—a PDF you can find here (original version—clean version), among other places, for free.
Documenting family history and genealogical information is hard. It's the result of combing hundreds of obscure sources and making logical leaps as to whether James and Jimmy are the same person. Developing software to make record-keeping easy is an even harder task.
Ancestry.com has done an admirable job of making this process easy. However, the largest source of data by far has been other family members who have filled in the gaps in my research. In this, Ancestry.com fails.
Ancestry keeps all your information under lock and key, ensuring no one can see, learn, or contribute to your information without paying them for the privilege. It's one thing to pay for software or data sources, but Ancestry.com controls even the product of your work.
Fundamentally, I disagree with the idea that my work is controlled by someone else. Moreover, I am bothered by the fact that others must pay a third party to even see that work. This is fundamentally insulting, and counter-productive to the work of genealogical research. I urge you to find another alternative. Unfortunately, I don't have any suggestions... if you do, please let me know.
GEDCOM (an acronym standing for genealogical data communication) is a proprietary and open de facto specification for exchanging genealogical data between different genealogy software.
I have included a link to my latest GEDCOM research here:
There are, of course, Whittets who are not descended from James Weittet of Kintillo. Thanks to David King Whittet, then a real estate broker in Los Angeles, Ca., who wrote a letter to my grandfather in 1958, we now have an insight into the other Whittets. I've reprinted it in its entirety, below:
Update: It is also interesting to note that the the Group #2, including David King, has been linked to the "main" Whittet tree via Andrew Whittet, son of John Whittet (1734) and Isabell Todd (1738), son of William (iii.).
Oct. 31, 1958
In reviewing the notes covering the Whittet history, which I have accumulated by correspondence, visiting and traveling since 1916, when I became interested in tracing the history of the Whittet Clan, I find that in the United States there are FOUR (4) distinct family groups by the name of Whittet. All trace their ancestry back to Scotland. If record in the 17th and 18th centuries had been as complete, as available in the 19th and 20th centuries, we could, without a doubt, easily trace the branch or the tree where out Great-Great Ancestors, were of the same family or 1st Cousins.
The following skeleton history of the 4 family groups, I trust will be of interest to you. Only last year early 1957 did I learn details of Group #4, when I called up the home of George A. Whittet in Dallas, Texas. In the year 1946, I learned of group #3, thru Edward Whittet, then of Salt Lake City. My own group will be listed as #2. Group #1 are well classified in a Whittet history book, published in the year 1900 at Richmond, Va. by Robert Whittet VII. The first contact between Groups #1 and #2, occurred at Ann Arbor, Mich. at a school meeting, when my Cousin Beulah Whittet, met a Mrs. Wood of Richmond, Va. Shortly thereafter my Uncle Will obtained a volume of the Whittet Book.
50 or 100 years from now the future generations who will carry on the Family Name and traditions, will be able to refer to the information, which we are now in position to develop. Altho not as famous a name of Rob't Burns, Winston Churchill, Roosevelt, or Eisenhower, however those possessing it, will I'm sure be proud of such an individual Scottish name.
In 1928 I prepared a form to compile your personal family history. Am enclosing one for your use. Fill out as fully as possible, giving all names, dates of birth, original addresses, etc. of both the older and younger generations. Correct my errors. With your help a loose leaf record can be compiled on each and ever member of the Whittet families.
Thanking you for acknowledging receipt of this letter and attached information, and for your future cooperation, I am
DAVID KING WHITTET
WHITTET FAMILY RECORDS:-
GROUP #1. Located largely in Virginia and Massachusetts.
Robert Whittet, Generation VII.
Emigrated to United States year 1869.
Born Jan. 22, 1829, at Perth, Scotland.
Died Aug. 25, 1908.
Buried Richmond, Va. See page 48 of Whittet Book
GROUP #2. Located largely in Wisconsin, Minnesota and California
John Whittet. Generation II.
Located Sumner, Wisconsin year 1850.
Born 1809 or 1810, at Course of Gowri, Perthshire, Scotland.
Died June 2, 1870.
Buried at Albion, Wisc.
Note:- Older brother, James, Born 1802, with his family of several children, came to Wisconsin at the same time.
GROUP #3. Located largely- Buffalo, N.Y. Indiana- Oklahoma and Texas.
John Whittet, Generation II, came to United States between year 1832 and 1840. Born__________1816 @__________Scotland.
Buried at Pratt, Kansas, where he lived for many years.
GROUP #4. Located San Antonio, Texas-- Washington, D.C.
Thomas F. Whittet. Generation II. Emigrated to U.S. 1861 to 1865.
Born Nov. 10, 1838 @ Pittenweem, Perth, Scotland.
Buried in Cemetery of Presbyterian Church, he sponsored and build in year of 1894, at Poteet, Texas.
Following sheets gives names, dates of birth and death for generations as far back in years as can be determined for each of the 4 groups. Derivation and spelling of the name very interesting.
OLDEST FAMILY RECORDS
Ed: truncated here as a repeat of the Whittet book, specifically generations I-VI of Family Descent.
Robert McLean Whittet, listed above--9th Generation, now residing in Richmond, Va. is the grandson of the Robert Whittet, 7th Generation, who edited the Whittet Book, in the year 1900. Jointly with his son, they own and operate the well known, century old, firm of Whittet & Shepperson, Printers and Publishers. During the summer of 1955, accompanied by his good wife, Cornelia, they made the Pilgrimage to Scotland, while vacationing in Europe. This past summer they told me of their experiences while there.
The Whittets located were very few, but of excellent reputation. The new world was too attractive back in the 18th and 19th centuries.
1st Generation ANDREW WHITTET, Born__________1780. Approx.
Wife Elizabeth White. Died__________1840. Approx.
Address Bulbeggie, 7 miles from Perth, or Quarry Mills, 1½ miles from Perth, Scotland.
Family of 7 children.
2nd Generation John Whittet, Born 1809 or 1810.
Wife Janet Watson. Married Dec. 14, 1847
Emigrated to United States, Town of Sumner, or Busseville, Wisc. in the year 1850.
Died June 2, 1870.
Note:- Older Brother James and large family also came to America at the same time and located on adjoining farm.
3rd Generation George Watson Whittet. Born Jan. 23, 1854
Died Oct. 22, 1924. Buried Redwood Falls, Minn.
He was the 3rd son of family of 6 children, 5 boys and 1 sister.
Oldest brother was David Watson Whittet, whose 2nd son is William Whittet of Porterville, Calif. who is now 83 years, and the oldest known Whittet living.
4th Generation David King Whittet. Born Oct. 19, 1891.
Note:- One of 5 brothers and 1 sister.
5th Generation David Berg Whittet. Born Sept. 30, 1922. 6th Generation Michael Well Whittet. Born Sept. 4, 1952.
1st Generation John Whittet.
Born and died in Scotland.
2nd Generation John Whittet.
Born__________1816 in Scotland.
Buried in cemetery at Pratt, Kansas.
Emigrated to the United States about year 1840 living first at Buffalo, N. Y. then in Southern Indiana, later at Pratt, Kansas.
3rd Generation James Edward Whittet.
One of 5 brothers and 1 sister.
Buried____________________? Kansas or Okla.
4th Generation Edward Lester Whittet.
2nd oldest of 5 brothers and 2 sisters.
Lived many years at Salt Lake City. No children. Latest address, 466 Magnolia, Yuma, Ariz.
At this writing I do not have all the names of the younger generations of Edward's relatives. However, at least 3 more generations are now residing in Oklahoma and Texas.
1st Generation Thomas Weetet. Born about year 1800.
Died about year 1840 in Scotland.
Wife was Isabella Hardie.
Address Pittenweem, Shire of Fife, Scotland.
Whittet Book records for Births and Marriages, on Pages 144 and 146, records the birth of 3 of the children of this couple, and therfore verifies who this great grandparent was and how he spelled his name.
2nd Generation Thomas F. Whittet.
Born Nov. 10, 1838. Youngest of 4 or 5 children.
Place of birth. Pittenweem, Shire of Fife, Perth, Scotland.
Buried at Poteet, Texas. 10 miles west of San Antonio, in graveyard which he sponsored and built in year 1894. Served in the U.S. navy during the Civil War.
3rd Generation Arthur Butler Whittet.
Born__________1886 (approx.) at Poteet, Texas.
Resided in Washington D.C. from 1909 to date of death in 1943. Occupation, Civil Engineer with U.S. Govt. Oldest of family of 4.
4th Generation George A. Whittet, Dallas, Texas. Born 1925.
David Sutherland Whittet, Wash. D.C. Born 1930
Marjorie Whittet Hogan, Bethseda (Ed: Presumably Bethesda.), Md.
5th Generation Children of Marjorie, George and David.